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  • Christina Drummond

Private Richard Barton, C Company, 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment

Remembering the Fallen: on this day in 1971, Private Richard Andrew Barton, C (Patrol) Company, 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, was shot dead in the Andersonstown area of Belfast. He had been driving a Land Rover during a night patrol when three gunmen opened fire from where they were hidden in a garden at Killeen Park. On hearing the gunfire, Private Barton accelerated towards the gunmen and then swung around in an attempt to provide cover for his colleagues, who were able to leave the vehicle and return fire. He was hit in the chest, the gunmen having fired 35 shots, one of which pierced the Land Rover as well as his flak jacket, killing him. The rest of the patrol gave chase, but the gunmen escaped in vehicles which had been at the ready. Private Barton had joined the regiment five years earlier and had served in Bahrain, Hong Kong, Anguilla and Aden – this was his second tour in Northern Ireland. He was considered to be a first-class soldier – selfless and thoughtful - with a very good future in the army, and was due to go on the NCO's course the following month. Richard, from Parracombe in Devon, was 24 years old and due to be married two months later when his unit completed their tour in Northern Ireland.

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